New Delhi: The timing of the launch of Sanjaya Baru’s book The Accidental Prime Minister, The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh has given rise to speculation and whispers in political corridors that this could possibly be an attempt by Dr Baru to ingratiate himself with the BJP and, in particular, its PM candidate Narendra Modi in case the party comes to power. This is what a section of top Congress leaders and some in PMO think.
Congress functionaries questioned the timing of the launch of Dr Baru’s book when the country is in the midst of the Lok Sabha elections and the political climate is surcharged. They said the former media adviser was merely trying to serve the BJP’s political agenda through his book.
Read: Congress calls Sanjaya Baru an opportunist over PM book
And some in the BJP also indicated that if the party came to power, there could possibly be a race among some senior journalists to occupy the coveted position of “media adviser”.
Quite a few senior journalists are already eyeing the chair. If the timing of the launch of the book could possibly benefit the BJP in a fiercely fought electoral battle, not all in the saffron camp are amused.
Those close to L.K. Advani, the marginalised BJP patriarch, Sudheendra Kulkarni made his displeasure clear by slamming Dr Baru.
Ex-adviser Sanjaya Baru says Manmohan Singh was hobbled by Sonia Gandhi
New Delhi: A former media adviser to the Prime Minister has alleged in a new book that Manmohan Singh allowed his authority to be undermined by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Sanjaya Baru’s book, “The Accidental Prime Minister”, was published on Friday, days after India began its five-week election.
Singh’s spokesman dismissed the book as an incorrect interpretation of the Prime Minister’s 10 years in power.
But the memoirs, which show the Prime Minister as subservient to a woman without an official government position, are likely to hand the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party a stick with which to beat the Congress party in an increasingly acrimonious campaign.
“You must understand one thing. I have come to terms with this,” Baru recalled the Prime Minister telling him in 2009.
“There cannot be two centres of power. That creates confusion. I have to accept that the party president is the centre of power. The government is answerable to the party.”
Singh’s spokesman Pankaj Pachauri described the book as “an attempt to misuse a privileged position and access to high office to gain credibility”.
“The commentary smacks of fiction and (the) coloured views of a former adviser,” Pachauri told reporters.
Baru was not immediately available to comment.
His book portrays Singh, 81, as an admirable man who held every important position in economic policymaking – including as finance minister when India embraced radical reforms in 1991 – before he became Prime Minister in 2004.
Singh also made history, becoming India’s first Prime Minister from a minority community – he is a Sikh – and serving for longer than anyone other than a Nehru-Gandhi.
“On the other hand, the public perception that he accomplished this feat through unquestioning submissiveness lies at the heart of the image problem that came to haunt Dr. Singh,” Baru said in his book.
Baru described Singh as an enigmatic man of few words who confessed when he became Prime Minister that he was not prepared for the role and shied away from telling his own “powerful tale”.
But he said Singh’s failure to assert himself after the Congress party was re-elected in 2009 proved to be a fatal flaw that weakened his authority and left him “in office” with some authority but not “in power”.
He said that Singh conceded most of his turf as Prime Minister to Sonia Gandhi and senior cabinet ministers.
“The politically fatal combination of responsibility without power and governance without authority meant that Dr. Singh was unable, even when he was aware, of checking corruption in his ministry without disturbing the political arrangement over which he nominally presided,” Baru wrote.